Current Transmissions

SDCC | Marvel offers another 99-cent Marvel Unlimited deal

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If you’ve wanted to explore Marvel’s massive digital archive, now’s your chance: For the next week, in celebration of Comic-Con International, 99 cents will get you a month-long subscription to Marvel Unlimited and its online collection of more than 15,000 classic and newer comics, dating from the Golden Age to about six months ago.

The publisher offered a similar deal in March for South by Southwest; a monthly membership normally costs $9.99, while a basic annual subscription is $69.

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SDCC, Day 0 | A roundup of the Image Expo announcements

image logoPreview Night stopped being a leisurely affair several years ago, as Comic-Con International grew so large that four “official” days couldn’t contain all of the news. Heck, five days isn’t even enough, with more and more comics publishers rolling out major announcements before anyone even started packing their bags for San Diego (BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse, DC Comics, Dynamite, IDW and Marvel all did so this year).

Image Comics planted its flag on Wednesday, amid the usual buzz about movies, television and video games, with its Comic-Con-adjacent Image Expo, where it announced a dozen new titles from such creators as Warren Ellis, Kurt Busiek, Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, Becky Cloonan, Jeff Lemire, Joey Casey, Dustin Nguyen, Marian Churchland and Gabriel Hardman. Comic Book Resources has the full report, and the text of Publisher Eric Stephenson’s keynote address, but we’ve gathered descriptions and images for each of the 12 comics below.

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The ballad of the boy who isn’t at Comic-Con

Becky Cloonan, humoring me at Comic-Con 2007

Becky Cloonan, humoring me at Comic-Con 2007

For the first time in 14 years, I’m not going to Comic-Con International in San Diego, not even for a day. I didn’t think this would bother me, but I have to admit that I’m bummed I’m missing out on the biggest week in comics.

There are numerous comics conventions across the country, and even around the world, that use the term “comic-con, but there’s just one Comic-Con. If you really need clarification, fine, call it the San Diego Comic-Con, or, as it’s becoming increasingly known, “nerd prom.” I scoffed at that nickname when I first heard it, because even after all this time, “nerd” still seemed derogatory (I blame my sister). But now I feel like it’s a perfect name for it, because just like your high school prom, everyone talks about it weeks and months beforehand, it seems like everyone is going, and if you aren’t, you feel left out of the fun.

Growing up in Massachusetts, I heard about two comic book events that were truly legendary, epic destinations that had to be experienced at least once in your life: One was in San Diego and the other was in Chicago. Only one of those two has really held on to its mythic status as a holy destination for anyone who loves comics, and the related family of genre and pop culture entertainment to which many of us have devoted so much. I moved to Los Angeles in 1999, and I knew an added bonus was that I would at last get to attend Comic-Con.

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‘Turtle fanatic’ papers New York City with TMNT decals

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Toronto may have the likes of Wonder Woman, Agent Cooper and Astro Boy watching over its neighborhoods, but New York City has Turtle Power.

That’s because for the past month 33-year-old Sean Haynes, an avowed “Turtle fanatic” has been spreading his love for the heroes in a half shell by creating his own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles decals and sticking them around the city — on subway cars, bus shelters, wherever. He then uploads photos of them to his Instagram account, encouraging his followers to find them.

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SDCC | Where to find digital comics and webcomics

comic-con-fridayI’ve never been to a comics convention, but I can imagine it can be overwhelming — Comic-Con International especially, with its enormous exhibition hall, packed programming schedule and multiple venues. There’s a webcomics presence, but it remains something of a niche. A quick scan of events, for example, turns up more presentations on how to become big on deviantART than anything directly connected with webcomics.

There’s a powerfully strong digital comics representation, however. Perhaps this indicates a swing from the independent, comic strip-influenced world of webcomics to the formalized, floppy-inspired format of digital. Shoot, Publishers Weekly even arranged a panel to discuss that very thing on Friday morning with “Behind the Digital Line.” Mark Waid has an entire panel devoted to pitching ideas to Thrillbent. Monkeybrain Comics will have a roundtable about the benefits of publishing digitally. And on Sunday, “Digital Comics: Going Beyond the Page” will feature a discussion with a panel that includes Waid (Thrillbent) and Ron Perraza (formerly of comiXology and DC’s digital division).

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Quote of the Day | ‘We identified this need’

gotham academy1“Certainly when you relaunch a whole universe, something like the New 52, you’re gonna essentially create a bible that kind of guides and dictates the evolution and growth of the universe. We’re in year three of that, and certainly every story that’s created is done through the collaboration of an editor with the writer and the artist and the rest of the creative team. So I certainly think  Mark Doyle coming on and becoming the Batman Group editor was a big part of that. I think it’s also a recognition that our audience has evolved and we wanna make sure that we tell the stories that the audiences are craving. So we identified this need. We’re coming out with these different kinds of storylines, and, frankly, it’s exciting because we have a lot of Batman books, and I think it’s a disservice to the fans and to the character to have everything feel of the same tonality. I’m a big fan of Becky Cloonan, so I’m really looking forward to her work on Gotham Academy. I think it’s healthy for the business, and it’s an exciting time to be a Batman fan.”

– DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee, talking with Entertainment Weekly about the decision to take “the Batman world” in a different direction with the newly announced Arkham Manor and Gotham Academy. (He also mentions Batgirl among the developments he’s looking forward to in the back half of Batman’s 75th anniversary celebration.)

ComiXology offers 100 comiXology Submit books for $10

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ComiXology is celebrating its fifth anniversary with a deal that’s pretty difficult to pass up: a bundle of 100 titles from comiXology Submit, its self-publishing platform for independent creators, for just $10.

That’s 10 cents each for comics like Wolves by Becky Cloonan, Aw Yeah Comics! #1 by Art Baltazar, Franco and others, nemu*nemu: Out of This World by Audra Ann S. Furuichi, Feather #1 by Steve Uy, and The Pride #1 by Joe Glass, Marc Ellerby, Joshua Faith and Gavin Mitchell. Plus, y’know, 95 others.

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Finest known copy of ‘Action Comics’ #1 to be sold on eBay

action1 Horning in on Batman Day, eBay has announced it will auction a CGC-graded 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1, the finest known copy of the 1938 first appearance of Superman.

Just one other copy of Action Comics #1, the one previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, has received a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company, but it had “cream to off-white pages,” while this comic is considered to be in pristine edition. The Cage issue sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million; the expectation is, of course, that this copy, owned by collectibles dealer Darren Adams, will fetch a considerably higher price.

“The quality and preservation of this Action #1 is astounding,” Paul Litch, CGC’s Primary Grader, said in a statement. “The book looks and feels like it just came off the newsstand. It is supple, the colors are deep and rich and the quality of the white pages is amazing for a comic that is 76 years old.”

The eBay auction will be held Aug. 10-24, with a portion of proceeds going to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury.

You can view the comic on the CGC Comics website.

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PunditFact scrutinizes Whoopi Goldberg’s Thor claim

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A project of The Tampa Bay Times and the Poynter Institute, PunditFact is dedicated to verifying the accuracy of claims made by political pundits, columnists, analysts and television hosts — your Rush Limbaughs, your Rachel Maddows, your Ann Coulters. Perhaps there’s something in the air, with Comic-Con International upon us, but for whatever reason, the Truth-O-Meter has turned its attention to the announcement of the new Thor last week on The View — specifically, a statement made by co-host Whoopi Goldberg.

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SDCC | LEGO debuts classic TV Batmobile, Batman of Zur-En-Arrh

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For Batman Day, and the start of Comic-Con International, LEGO has unleashed a one-two punch on fans of the Dark Knight: the LEGO Super Heroes: DC Comics San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile and the giveaway Batman of Zur-En-Arrh minifig.

Priced at $39.99, the Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile comes with the 1960s-style Caped Crusader minifigs. While that set will be readily available this week at the LEGO booth (#2829), convention attendees will have to rely on some luck to get their hands on Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.

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SDCC | Surveying the calm before the storm

maze runner comicAlthough Preview Night is still hours away, there’s still plenty of Comic-Con International news and miscellaneous tidbits, ranging from early announcements and last-minute preparations to convention exclusives and recommendations. We’ve rounded up just some of them here.

Fox has partnered with BOOM! Studios to produce a convention-exclusive Maze Runner comic. Written by the film’s director and screenwriter, Wes Ball and T.S. Nowlin, and illustrated by Marcus To, the one-shot will be given to attendees of the studio’s Hall H presentation on Friday.

• Dark Horse rounds up its pre-convention announcements of 12 new creator-owned comics, including Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Alex Maleev, EI8HT, by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson, The Black Hammer, by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston, and Fight Club 2, by Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart.

• The online comics education resource Comics Experience has partnered with IDW Publishing to release creator-owned titles by new talent, beginning in January with five miniseries: Drones by Chris Lewis and Bruno Oliveira; Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit by Rob Anderson and Fernando Melek; Gutter Magic by Rich Douek and Brett Barkley; and Tet by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker.

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Bill Watterson’s ‘Pearls’ strips to hit SDCC before they’re sold

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The three original comic strips from Bill Watterson’s surprise guest stint last month on Pearls Before Swine will be displayed this week at Comic-Con International before they’re sold at auction Aug. 8, with proceeds benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The collaboration, which came at the suggestion of the Calvin and Hobbes creator, marked Watterson’s return to the comics page after a 19-year absence. Pastis teased readers that the week’s storyline would “contain a mind-blowing surprise,” but didn’t reveal what it was. Nevertheless, some fans quickly uncovered clues that some of the strips were ghost-drawn by Watterson.

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SDCC | Check out Marvel’s limited-edition ‘Guardians’ mini-poster

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Comic-Con International attendees who are lucky — or devoted — enough to make it into Hall H on Saturday for the Marvel Studios presentation will walk out with a limited-edition Guardians of the Galaxy mini-poster created by Matt Needle of Poster Posse fame. (The British graphic designer also produced two nice-looking prints for Poster Posse’s 75th-anniversary tribute to Batman.)

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Quote of the Day | Wil Wheaton defines ‘geek’

wil wheaton“I use ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ interchangeably — I don’t make a distinction. I’ve said that being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about the way that you love it. So you can be a nerd for football, and obsessively follow stats and player trades and figure out things that give you an advantage in, like, sports betting and things like that. Or, you can love Battlestar Galactica and try to work out all of the complex mythologies and get into things like blueprints of the ships. And then you can love things like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Winter Soldier, and love that so much that you end up going to a comic book shop and then reading all the way back through ten or twenty years of Captain America comics. Someone who I would describe as a ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ is a person who loves something to its greatest extent, and then looks for other people who love it the same way, so they can celebrate loving it together.”

– actor/blogger/writer Wil Wheaton, defining for GQ a word we’ll see and hear bandied about a lot — a lot — during Comic-Con International

SDCC | PETA and Bluewater target SeaWorld with airport ad

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Thousands of people flying this week to Comic-Con International will be greeted at San Diego International Airport by a large ad targeting SeaWorld.

The $24,000 display, produced by PETA and comics publisher Bluewater Productions, features a cartoon of an orca with the marine parks’ CEO gripped between its teeth, accompanied by the text, “He Will Let You Go If You Let Him Go.” It was installed today in Terminal 2.

“With 130,000 people coming into San Diego for Comic-Con, we couldn’t miss this opportunity to bring this image to people,” PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews told San Diego’s ABC 10 News.

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